Today is the Feast of the Annunziata (religious event that commemorates the apparition of the Archangel Gabriel to the Madonna for the announcement of the birth of Jesus ). The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church celebrate this event every year on March 25 (for Orthodox Churches that use the Julian calendar , March 25 corresponds to April 7 of the Gregorian calendar ). The liturgy celebrating the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord is postponed if it coincides with a Sunday of Lent or other solemnities of the Easter season. Also in Andria, every 25 March, in addition to greetings to all the people called Nunzia or Nunzio, the cult of the Madonna dell’Annunziata is renewed :
In many countries (for example in Tuscany until the eighteenth century ) the day of the Annunciation was set on New Year’s Eve, for which the system of calculating the years was called Style of the Incarnation. Like every date relating to the events of Jesus’ infancy, also that of March 25 for the Annunciation was established in reference to that of Christmas, and therefore, like this, it was indicated only by the tradition of the Church, lacking references in this regard precise in the Gospels. As for the moment of conception, the Annunciation was placed on the 9th month before Christmas, and this happened soon after the establishment of the Christmas feast and its definitive placement on December 25th, attested in the West already in the first half of the fourth century. century AD (see the Depositio Martyrum, which can be dated to 336) and in the East at the end of the same century, without forgetting that we have written attestation of the birth of Jesus on December 25 in the Roman Church as early as 203, the year to which theCommentary on Daniel by Hippolytus of Rome. However, this collocation also has a theological and liturgical value:
the Annunciation, as a historical moment of the beginning of the Incarnation and therefore of the history of salvation, thus falls in the same period in which the Jewish tradition placed the beginning of its religious year, i.e. in the month of Nisan (March/April ), and until the High Middle Ages March 25th marked the beginning of the annual liturgical cycle of Christianity, then moved to Christmas itself and finally to Advent , but also the beginning of the civic calendar (as for example in Florence). This fact was also favored by the coincidence with important astronomical cycles: in fact, Christmas coincides with the period of the winter solstice, the Annunciation falls on the vernal equinox. In the Catholic liturgy , the anniversary of the Annunciation is a solemnity and is one of the Feasts of the Lord (and not of the Blessed Virgin Mary). According to the Western Catholic liturgical calendar, March 25 often falls during the time of Lent ; in some years, instead it falls in Holy Week or in the Octave of Easter. It therefore often happens that the solemnity of the Annunciation is postponed, either because it has to give way to a Sunday of Lent (and in this case, it is moved to the following day, Monday 26 March, as happened in 2007 and 2012 ) , or because, given that Holy Week and the Octave of Easter prevail over the Annunciation, the solemnity is postponed to the Monday after Sunday in albis (as in 2008, moved to Monday 31 March, or in 2002 and 2013, moved to Monday April 8; or in 2016, moved to April 4, and in 2018 moved to April 9). Still today surrounded by mysterious archaic origins, in Frederick’s city, the Church of the Santissima Annunziata was probably built around the 12th century :
In the past described as ” the Church as outside ” – meaning the building carried out outside the walls built by the Normans to fortify the city, just outside the historic Porta called « della Barra » – this structure represents one of the places of worship older for the Andria community, subjected to alterations carried out over the centuries. Passing along the road, still today, the external part reveals the signs of ancient entrances to the prospectus, above all of the two lateral ones which are too low (today walled up), architectural evidence of the lack of the current front floor:
evidently, the oldest part of the Annunziata church was once the one located below the current street level or in any case at a different level from the current one. From 1042 – the year in which Puglia was dominated by the Normans – Pietro the Norman had Andria fortified, consequently causing the displacement of the inhabitants from the various villages within the walls. Annunziata, the monastery of S. Onofrio (now called Purgatorio or Church of S. Sebastiano) and that of the Basilian women called “S. Thomas”, therefore remained outside the walls but survived sieges and historical changes. In 1350, then, the three sacred buildings badly damaged by the Hungarian soldiers who came to the city to punish Giovanna, queen of Naples, for the murder of Andrea, brother of their king Ludovico. It should also be remembered that in the area of the church there was a part of the route of the ancient canal that crossed the city (today ” Ciappetta-Camaggio “, partially underground, once known as ” Aveldium” , located near the ancient village of Rudas ). Thus the church must have been at a higher level than the current one and , still in the eighteenth century, when it already had a single nave, it was possible to access it through a single staircase :
Also note the two walled rectangular windows , once existing immediately above the thin horizontal stringcourse moulding, as they existed on the facade of Sant’Agostino, San Domenico and in other very ancient churches in Andria . located above them and the oculus , an evident sign of post-construction masonry overlap. At the time, an aedicule was also introduced between the city walls and the church containing the fresco, attributed to the Giotto school, representing ” La Pietà”: the demonstration of the presence on the territory of the “primitive” church, of the aedicule and of a tower of the Porta della Barra where the canvas of the Immaculate Conception is located in the lowest part of the structure, today the protagonist of one of the altars of the current church. For tourists interested in visiting the Church of the Annunziata in Andria, we report below the link to the indications provided by Google maps :
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